The Lagos State government is tracking about 60,000 people who tested positive to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) but did not go back for treatment as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu charged the State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA) to find the individuals for immediate anti-retroviral therapy.
Sanwo-Olu gave the charge yesterday at the inauguration of the state’s HIV Consortium Group held at the Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel, Victoria Island.
The event also featured the formal dissemination of the disaggregated Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS).
Sanwo-Olu said the wanted HIV victims were diagnosed of the virus but they were not captured in the state’s HIV Response Database.
He said the search for the individuals was to enable the state administer adequate anti-retroviral treatment on them and prevent the spread of the virus.
The governor said one of the key healthcare goals of his administration was to reduce the number of new HIV infections and help victims manage the trauma, in line with best practice.
He disclosed that his government, since inception, has sustained the deployment of resources to fight the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) through LSACA, leveraging a multi-sectoral approach to achieve prevention and control.
He said, “The Lagos State government and its partners have worked and sacrificed resources to achieve the level of awareness that has significantly changed the behaviour of our people. This is evidenced by the reduction in the prevalence rate, which currently stands at 1.4 per cent.
“Although, the current prevalence rate shows a reduction, it is still a source of concern when we consider the actual number of people within the bracket. There is, therefore, the need for us to step up our efforts to achieve a further reduction in the prevalence rate through aggressive public enlightenment campaign, which must be taken to the nooks and crannies of the state.”
Sanwo-Olu said his administration had strengthened its commitment towards achieving the “90’90’90 Goals” of the United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS).
Sanwo-Olu said the purpose of inaugurating the Lagos State HIV Consortium Group was to provide a platform for stakeholders to collaborate and coordinate a sustained and improved response towards achieving the 90’90’90 target in Lagos.
The Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, said Gov Sanwo-Olu had demonstrated “an uncommon commitment” to supporting healthcare delivery, noting that the Sanwo-Olu administration is the first to commit 15 per cent of the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to funding healthcare.
The LSACA Director-General, Dr Monsurat Adeleke, said the synergy between the agency and the consortium group would help the state to track all the 60,000 individuals who tested positive to the virus by September 2020.
Also, the Consul-General of the United States in Lagos, Ms Claire Pierangelo, pledged continued support for the state’s HIV/AIDS response.
Pierangelo said the American government would collaborate with all stakeholders in ensuring the greatest impact for those in need of anti-retroviral therapy.